Sanguine Town: Westby Ravensdale - The Lady in Grey

Westby Ravensdale is an eccentric private investigator in Sanguine Town with an ability that sets him apart from all others. He is capable of analysing a situation and coming up with an answer in seconds, making the secret weapon of both the Police and the Hunters...no matter how much he may frustrate them. With his helpful companion, George Malcolm, Westby faces up to any and all fascinating cases, bringing his unique methods to play. --- "The Lady in Grey" is the first in a series of Westby Ravensdale stories. George Malcolm is introduced to the detective, and is thrown head first into a case involving a mysterious spectral lady. --- Confession: Inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Largely a placement of Sherlock into a Supernatural setting. --- Thanks to Christie_xx for the cover drawing.

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14. "Think It Through Next Time"

As I had hoped, when I returned from buying the groceries – and lugged four bags of shopping up the staircase – Westby was home.

I found him spread out on the sofa, his eyes shut, and his fingers pressed together upon his chest. I went to the kitchen, put the bags on the table with a slight thud, and then returned to the living room.

As I did, I noticed he had a nicotine patch on his arm.

“Planning on quitting?” I asked.

His eyes shot open and he looked towards me. “I never quit a case!” he snapped. He stared at me for a moment, blinked, and then broke into a smile. “When did you get back?”

“Er…just now,” I replied. I looked at him blankly for a moment. “I wasn’t talking about the case. I was talking about you smoking.”

“Smoking?” He looked at the patch on his arm, and then rolled up his sleeve, revealing a second.

“I don’t plan on quitting, George. Oh, no. I just want nicotine, and I can’t be bothered to open the window.”

“Two?”

“I have a craving for a lot of nicotine,” he corrected himself, smiling. “Maybe I need a third?”

“No, Westby. You’ll become dependent on them,” I interjected.

“And I am not dependent on cigarettes?” He stood up and moved to the armchair, where he picked up a book. “Where have you been?”

“Buying food,” I replied. “Like you asked me to.”

“Wonderful!” he exclaimed.

I smiled and wandered over to the window, where I stood, staring out at the lights of the Pleasure District, not far away.

“Fascinating. Were you aware that before the British Empire conquered France, there was to be a Revolution?” he suddenly asked.

“No,” I replied, still gazing out the window.

Westby chuckled. “You’d think they would have learnt, after the failed Revolution in the Americas.” He looked up from the book – I saw in the periphery of my vision – and gazed at me. “What’s wrong with you, George?”

“We had a visitor earlier today.”

“A visitor?”

“Yes. A friend of yours.” I turned to face him, and saw a partially confused, partially nervous expression on his face.

“Friend?”

“Well…enemy.” His face relaxed at this, quite surprisingly, and almost smiled.

“Which one?”

“Your arch enemy, apparently.” I paused as he leaned back and smiled. “Do people have arch enemies?”

“I do,” he said with a laugh. “During the day, though? I suppose he had a proposition for you?”

“Yes.”

“Asked you to spy on me?”

“Yes.”

“Offered you money?”

“Yes. How do you know all…”

“Did you take the money?”

“No!” I exclaimed.

Westby sighed frustratedly. “Damn it, George. We could have used it to pay the rent. Please think it through next time.”

I didn’t respond to this. I simply stood in amazement. Westby had virtually asked me to betray him.
I sighed frustratedly and headed into the kitchen to get something to eat, leaving Westby with his book.

“I plan to pay Francesca Nightingale a visit,” Westby called through to the kitchen.
I shook my head as I removed a small cake from one of the bags and unwrapped it. I re-entered the living room as I took I bite. Once I had swallowed, I responded. “What?”

“Francesca Nightingale. I’m going to pay her a visit,” he repeated.

“You’re going to visit the Lady in Grey?” I asked.

He smiled. “I am, indeed.”

I sighed and slumped down onto the sofa. “You’re sure about that? What if she tries to kill you?”

Westby laughed at this remark, drawing a confused expression to my face. “Kill me? Witches have no death magic! That was a fabrication of religions all over the world. The most they can do to kill people with magic is to curse them with misfortune.” He leaned back in the chair and placed the book on the nearby table. “But if she tries to kill me, I have tactics to avoid such things.”

“Like what?”

“Secret tactics,” he replied, leaning forward as if about to tell me. “Tactics I shall never share,” he whispered.

I frowned at him, frustrated. “You’re going to keep many secrets from me, aren’t you?”
“Only until you need to know them,” he replied, grinning. “I’m not going to look for her until later, so first…” He stood up and headed into the kitchen.

I shook my head, stood up, and headed to my room. Mere moments later I was downstairs again, this time with my laptop computer. I opened it up and started searching for an Internet connection.

Surprisingly, there was one titled “52b Parkside”. I waited for a moment, noticing it was a locked connection, and once Westby returned to the room, I asked him about it.

“That? Mr. Hambleton set it up for us earlier. I don’t know why, but it should prove useful,” he explained.

“Very much so,” I said. “I have to go to work, tomorrow, Westby. No question about it.”

“No problem. We’re solving the case tonight,” he replied, suddenly.

“What?” I exclaimed.

“When I pay her a visit, I will get her confession, and Doyle will then arrive to arrest her.”

“Arrest a witch? Surely she’ll escape.”

Westby laughed and pressed his fingers together. “The Hunters have access to technology that suppresses their magic. I’m sure the police can get their hands on it.”

I sighed. “Very well. Good luck, Westby.”

“Not coming?” he asked, standing up. I shook my head.

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